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Professor Olivia Harris (1948-2009)


We are very sorry to announce that Olivia Harris died in her sleep at University College Hospital on the morning of 9th April. She had been suffering from cancer.

Please see the LSE's news page for a longer announcement. The Department has set up a tribute page for Olivia which you can visit here.

Olivia Harris was trained in anthropology at the LSE and taught for many years at Goldsmiths College (also University of London) whose Anthropology Department I co-founded in 1986. My  main research area is in Highland Bolivia, and I have taught at research institutes and universities in many Latin American countries as well as Europe and the USA, including as Visiting Professor for a number of years at the University of Oslo and in 2005 at the University of Chicago. My published work addresses gender, households, kinship, feminist theory, law, money and economic anthropology, symbolism and ritual. More recent and current research addresses the interface between anthropology and history, and especially the nature of historical time and change. A major study of Inka rule and the Spanish conquest in highland Bolivia was published in 2006, and I am currently completing a monograph that looks at the significance of moments of rupture in historical time, how they are experienced by those who live through them and how later generations incorporate them into their own mythical and historical narratives. A related interest concerns the growth of indigenous movements in the Americas, postcolonialism, and how indigenous actors are reframing politics and notions of citizenship in many countries, as well as rewriting history. I am a co-editor of the "New Departures in Anthropology" series for Cambridge University Press.

Selected Publications:

2007. What makes people work? R Astuti, J Parry and C Stafford (eds). Questions of Anthropology. Oxford: Berg.

2007. Alterities: kinship and gender in Latin American anthropology. D Poole (ed). A Companion to Latin American Anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell.

2006. The eternal return of conversion: Popular Christianity in Highland Bolivia. In The Anthropology of Christianity, Fenella Cannel (ed). Durham: Duke University Press. 

2006. (with T Platt and T Bouysse-Cassagne) Qaraqara-Charka: Mallku, Inka y Rey en la "Provincia de Charcas" (siglos XV-XVII). Historia Antropológica de una Confederación Aymara. La Paz: Ediciones Plural.

2004. Braudel: Historical time and the horror of discontinuity. History Workshop Journal 57: 161-174. 

2000. To Make the Earth Bear Fruit: Essays on Fertility, Work and Gender in Highland Bolivia. London: Institute of Latin American Studies.

1996. (editor) Inside and Outside the Law. London: Routledge.

1995. The coming of the white people: reflections on the mythologisation of history. Bulletin of Latin American Research 14(1): 9-24.

1995. (co-edited with Brooke Larson) Ethnicity, Markets and Migration in the Andes: At the Crossroads of Anthropology and History. Durham: Duke University Press.